A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits the town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away.
On the night of her wedding, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) is struggling to be happy even though it should be the happiest day of her life. It was an extravagant wedding paid for by her sister and brother-in-law who are trying to keep the bride and all the guests in line. Meanwhile, Melancholia, a blue planet, is hurtling towards the Earth. Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Justine's sister, is struggling to maintain composure with fear of the impending disaster.Written by
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Yeah, you're good. You can back up a little more, if you want. I think you need the... I think you need that extra...
I don't think he can hear you.
Sir. Sir, can you hear me up there?
[fiddling with controls]
Do you copy, sailor? He's in a different county, I think that's...
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Melancholia is a 2011 film written and directed by the controversial Lars Von Trier and follows two sisters as the end of the world draws near. The film is actually more about the current lives of the two sisters than it is the end of the world; yet the impending doom does heavily influence a series of events. Presently, the film has received mostly positive reviews and was praised for the imagery used throughout the film.
To truly appreciate all that Melancholia has to offer the film must be analyzed by taking a look at its two separate acts. The feel of the first act is much different than the feel and plot of the second act. The first act is titled "Justine", as it focuses on the character Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and her severe depression on her wedding day. The first act doesn't have much to do with the fact that all life on Earth is going to be wiped out. In fact, it doesn't really focus on the impending planet collision at all; it is simply about Justine as a character and all those around her at the time of the wedding. It is clear the Justine suffers from some type of mental illness but it is not made clear exactly what is wrong with her. She does very odd things throughout her entire wedding day including cheating on her husband. She spends a majority of the time away from her party, hiding out either on the golf course located outside or with her nephew, which seems to be the only things she derives joy from. Justine can be a very annoying character to watch as she seems to want to do nothing but ruin her own party, yet the camera shots of her off on her own either on the golf course or in the backyard are some of the best in the film.
The second act of the film titled "Claire" focuses mainly on Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and the impending impact of the planets. The first act can be slightly more interesting because as a viewer it is not really explained why Justine is doing all of the things she does, a lot of mystery surrounds her character. The second act picks up slightly after the events of the first, but follows Claire this time. She is worried about the collision yet her husband assures her it will miss Earth and they will be able to gaze upon it with their telescope. Throughout the second act Claire must deal with her Justine's depression as well as her own husband and child, all while constantly worrying about the collision. The second half of the film is much more intense than the first, and the editing reflects that, especially towards the climax. The use of shaky shots gives the viewer a sense of uneasiness and uncertainty as to how it will end.
Perhaps Melancholia's greatest achievement is its cinematography and beautiful sequence of unique shots, most notably in the opening sequence. The first opening sequence takes place entirely in slow- motion, showing many of the main characters, and is one of the highlights of the entire film. The camera work and settings used in this film are really something to talk about. The setting of a mansion is both isolating and elegant, and these two things are reflected within the carefully planned camera work.
My biggest gripe with the film would definitely be its pacing. It will be really engaging one minute and then slow down to a dead halt the next. However, when the film does have its shining moments, they are extremely memorable.
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